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After a relaxing breakfast this morning at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Mendoza, our team has finalized their climbing gear and departed for the Aconcagua Park Office. Here our team will obtain their climbing permits. After a afternoon drive to Penitentes, our team arrived at the Ayelen hotel. Here guides Garrett and Wenny will discuss a strategy for the climb and enjoy another beautiful Argentine style dinner, (see below!). Tomorrow our team will begin the trek toward the Vacas Valley near Punta de Vaca (8,000′). Aconcagua, the “Stone Sentinel”, is located in Argentina near the border of Chile, and is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Garrett‘s proven approach for climbing is to properly acclimatize and then attempt the summit with enough extra days built in for bad weather.

For a complete overview of our climbers itinerary please visit our website here.

Awesome pictures here by our expedition leader Garret Madison!

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2016 Madison Mountaineering Aconcagua Climbers (Left to right):

Audrey Cadwallader, Bernd Horsman, Ginna kelly, Linda Wohlgemuth, Walter harris, Peter Horsman, Weny Sanchez, Garrett

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Gear check complete, heading to Penitentes tomorrow!

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Entertainers, artisan vendors, and live music in the park!

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Co guide: Wenny Sanchez

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Wine & Dine

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Garrett paying for Aconcagua permits

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Relaxing first few days of the expedition!

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Park Hyatt Mendoza, Argentina

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Madison Mountaineering 2016 Aconcagua climbers are enroute to Mendoza! Everyone should be arriving by tomorrow and we will do our gear check, team meeting, and welcome dinner before heading off to the mountain! Aconcagua, also known as the “Stone Sentinel”, is located in Argentina near the border of Chile, and is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, and team will climb a less traveled route that allows for more acclimatization, and while we may use our ice axe and crampons occasionally, this climb does not require ‘roping up.’ Aconcagua is bounded by the Valle de las Vacas to the north and east and the Valle de los Horcones Inferior to the west and south. The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The mountain has a number of glaciers. The largest glacier is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior at about 10 km long, which descends from the south face to about 3600 m altitude near the Confluencia camp.

Our climbers will begin on the eastern side of the mountain, by trekking along the Vacas River to Plaza Argentina base camp. From here we ascend the non technical false polish and then upper Guanacos route to our high camp.

To the top!

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Gear begins to arrive into Mendoza, Argentina!

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Madison Mountaineering climbing team finalizing the pre-trip logistics before departure from Mendoza.

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Congratulations to our Ecuador Volcanoes team for their successful Whymper Peak Summit today at 6,268 m (20,564 ft)!! Luke, Zack and Estalin have reached the summit of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak! Chimborazo’s location along the earth’s equatorial bulge makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center (aka closest to the sun). This challenging climb with many technical challenges provided spectacular views across the many glaciated peaks in the Andes mountain range. Today on this crystal clear day, we could see Colombia in the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Our team is now back in Quito where they enjoyed their celebration dinner. Estalin, Luke and Zack are enjoying their last couple days in the capital city of Quito, experiencing the rich culture and beautiful Spanish colonial architecture.

Thank you Estalin Valladolid for the beautiful photos across Ecuador and great leadership throughout! Cheers team!

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Luke and Zack starting to walk to Base Camp Stubel near Chimborazo.

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Rise and shine! Alpine start on Chimborazo summit day.

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Luke and Zack on their final push to the summit of Chimborazo!

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Last steps to the summit of Chimborazo, in the background you can see Veintimilla Summit at 6,230 m (20,440 ft).

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Whymper summit at 6,268 m (20,564 ft) In the back on the right you can see Cotopaxi!

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Cloud layers rolling in over Luke and Zack.

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Descending from Veintimilla Summit at 6,230 m (20,440 ft).

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Descending from the summit of Whymper peak, the background Ilinizas,  Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Antizana.

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After the summit of Chimborazo, Luke Zack, and Estalin eating rabbit and guinea pig in Quito.

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Today the Madison Mountaineering team made another acclimatization climb to the summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft)! This was the teams third successful day trek as they continue to adapt to the elevation gain in the Andes. These peaks were visible from the nearby city of Quito where the expedition began. Weather today was partly cloudy with breaks in the clouds throughout the afternoon. The team is now in route to Hacienda Guachala near the town of Cayambe. This colonial town is known as the oldest hacienda (Spanish for estate) in Ecuador, with structures dating all the way back to 1580! Tomorrow the team will be making another day hike to Imbabura and continue this epic journey. Onward!

Interesting Fact about Pichincha Volcano: On May 24, 1822, General Sucre’s southern campaign in the Spanish-America war of independence, came to a climax when patriot forces defeated the Spanish colonial army on the south-east slopes of this volcano. The engagement, known as the Battle of Pichincha, secured the independence of the territories of present day Ecuador.

Beautiful photos from our expedition leader Estalin below! 🙂

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Team starting the trek to Ruku Pichincha:

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Lunch break with a pretty epic view! 

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Traversing rocky terrain:

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Luke resting before the last step to the summit:

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Last push before the summit!

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Summit of Ruku Pichincha Volcano at 4,698 metres (15,413 ft):

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Making our descent through the clouds:

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Luke enjoying the moment! 🙂 

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